Roads

Butch Otter, Idaho Governor
Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter told reporters Monday he plans to appeal the federal government’s decision not to give Idaho disaster aid. He made the request to help pay for the cost of this year’s severe winter storms and spring floods.

Dean Shareski / Flickr

This winter’s snow and cold temperatures have taken a toll on area roads. And it’s not just piles of snow that are causing problems. On many streets there are new potholes to worry about.

Potholes crop up every winter, but back-to-back storms this season have made these road hazards blossom.

The Idaho Transportation Department says usually there is time after a winter storm for crews to put temporary patches on potholes. But with so many storms so close together, they can't keep up.

Sparky / Flickr

If you’re in your car, Boise is the third safest city in America to go driving, according to Allstate Insurance Company.

Forest History Society / Flickr

State officials have given their OK to modify a northern Idaho timber sale to include helicopter logging that will cost the state up to $1.5 million in lost revenue.

The Idaho Land Board voted 4-0 on Tuesday following a federal court ruling earlier this month that put the Selway Fire Salvage timber sale on hold by temporarily banning the use of a contested U.S. Forest Service road.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says it's disappointing but the Land Board had little choice.

Idaho Statesman

You’ve seen roadside memorials - a cross or flowers that says someone died at that location. Now, the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) wants to regulate those displays.

ACHD commissioners asked a group to write some rules, and Wednesday morning the commission will decide if those are ready to advance.

Currently, people place the markers without permission. ACHD only removes them if they’re problematic, but spokesman Craig Quintana says they’re becoming problems too often.

Sandor Weisz / Flickr

The Idaho Department of Transportation (ITD) is reminding drivers to remove their studded tires this spring. Idaho law says use of studded tires is only legal between October 1 and April 30, and people caught with them beyond that date could be fined $67.

Studded tires have small metal cleats embedded in the rubber to provide traction on snow and ice.

A group of Republican lawmakers in Idaho is offering a plan they say could raise up to $81 million for road and bridge repairs by next year.

Albert Lynn / Flickr Creative Commons

Two House Republicans say they have a last-minute proposal to raise $70 million to $100 million per year in new transportation funding.

The House Transportation and Defense Committee is slated to consider the eleventh-hour proposal Tuesday. The plan would draw from overall tax revenue growth and a temporary five-cent fuel tax increase to tackle the state's $262 million annual transportation shortfall.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Two months into Idaho’s legislative session, many of the priorities lawmakers set at the beginning of the year haven’t been touched. Legislative leaders say things like road and bridge funding and a tax overhaul may have to wait until next year.

At an event organized by the Idaho Press Club Wednesday, Speaker of the House Scott Bedke said he’s optimistic the session can end by March 27. That’s despite the fact that a highly-anticipated bill to give teachers a raise was introduced Wednesday and a comprehensive plan to pay for fixing Idaho’s roads and bridges hasn’t yet surfaced.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

On Monday, a panel of Idaho lawmakers said the time has come to boost the gas tax to fix roads and bridges that are in disrepair. Father and son truckers Cliff and Rusty Irish have seen the problem first hand.

The Irishes are based in Sagle, Idaho, about 60 miles from the Canadian border. They can rack up as many as 90,000 miles a year transporting logs and equipment across north Idaho. 

weather, roads, snow, ice
Jodie Martinson / Boise State Public Radio

The Ada County Highway District (ACHD) is defending itself from criticisms over how it cleared -- or didn't clear -- the roads after last week's snow dump. A record-setting 7.6 inches of snow fell at the Boise Airport on Thursday and Friday.

Police departments tweeted warnings to drivers to mind the conditions after helping hundreds of vehicles involved in fender-benders and spins off the road.

Now, almost a week later, many major roads in Boise, Eagle, and Meridian still have snow and ice in patches and many drivers are complaining about why it's taken so long to clear.

Just prior to the I-5 bridge collapse Thursday night north of Seattle, eyewitnesses report an oversized load struck a portion of the bridge’s steel superstructure. That’s the frame that’s key to holding the bridge up.

The Supreme Court today decided in favor of the timber industry in a case about the regulation of muddy waters that flow off logging roads.  In a surprising move, one of the court’s conservative justices dissented, and sided with the environmentalists.

Environmental groups in Oregon filed the case.

They argued that muddy water flowing from ditches into forest streams, harms fish, and should be considered industrial pollution.

In a 7-1 decision the Court said it would defer to the Environmental Protection Agency’s read of the law.

Icy And Snowy Conditions On Southeastern Idaho Roads

Oct 26, 2012

Drivers in southeastern Idaho are dealing with icy and snowy road conditions today. A fatal accident on a bridge near American Falls involved a semi and two passenger vehicles, killing one. At least four other accidents or slide-offs are reported by Idaho State Police in Pocatello.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

BOISE, ID – Three years ago the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a D grade.  This year, a local branch of the organization says Idaho does slightly better than the U.S.

Think report card.  Idaho would get a C minus overall for its infrastructure.  Things like bridges, state highways, and public transit.  Idaho did worst for upkeep of bridges and highways – a D plus.  Seth Olsen is a Boise civil engineer.  He helped put this report together.